As we continue on in our current series on, “Israel’s Prophetic Future”; we turn our attention to the regathering of Israel in these last of the Last Days. There are various opinions on this topic as there are virtually every Bible subject. For example there are those who believe that God is finished with Israel and has no further dealing with them since their rejection of Christ as Messiah. We reject that notion as it is totally unbiblical.
Then there are those who teach that modern Israel has no place in the fulfillment of prophecy. Others see modern Israel as the complete fulfillment of end-time prophecy. I am really not interested in opinions or speculation. What we seek to teach here is the Word of God. We seek by the help of the Holy Spirit to rightly divide the Word so that we arrive at that which the Word of God actually teaches. We do not do it perfectly, but in those cases we ask you to pray for us.
I personally see two end-time regatherings of Israel. The first one brings them back to the land, the second one brings a believing remnant back to God. The modern State of Israel then would be at least a partial fulfillment of prophecy, in that the vast majority of her population are still in rejection of the true Messiah. The State of Israel as it exists today would be in fulfillment of the prophecies concerning bringing back Israel to the land. Lets take a look at one of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the regathering of Israel. The Prophet Isaiah wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit,
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem. [Isaiah 27:12, 13] In this passage the Prophet looks far ahead in Israel’s eschatalogical future. This looks ahead to the coming Kingdom Age when Israel will finally embrace her Messiah. The “trumpet” speaks of the Jubilee trumpet that will be blown heralding the Feast of Tabernacles that Jesus will celebrate with the returning outcasts of Israel scattered by Antichrist during the Great Tribulation.
However, before this regathering there will be another gathering; that I submit to you has been going on in earnest since May of 1948. This has been again, for the most part a regathering in unbelief. [See Ezek. 20:33 – 38; 22:17 – 22; Zeph. 2:1, 2] God has a purpose here in all of this. He desires to truly bring His chosen people to Himself. Because of their stubborn and rebellious heart however, it is going to take the “fires” of adversity of the Great Tribulation to accomplish it. This is what is in view in the first gathering in unbelief. [See Deut. 4:29 – 31; 30:1 – 10; Isa. 11:11, 12; 27:12, 13; 43:5 – 7; Jer. 16:14, 15; 31:7 – 10; Ezek. 11:14 – 18; 36:22 – 24; Amos 9:14, 15; Zech. 10:8 – 12 and Matt. 24:21]
The rabbis teach that even those exiled in the distant parts of Assyria, or dispersed in the remotest corners of Egypt, will be brought back. Thus, they see the current State of Israel as the fulfillment of these verses. The only sense in which the current State of Israel fulfills any prophecy is in the sense that in order for the Temple to be re-built, the sacrificial system re-instituted under Antichrist, a Covenant established granting this to the Jews, etc.; they have to be in the land. So, we can see the stage is definitely set and the players, if you will, are all in place.
Many passages speak of Israel’s regathering in belief at the end of the Great Tribulation. This will be in conjunction with Christ’s Second Coming and in preparation for the commencement of the Millennium. These references are not being fulfilled by the modern State of Israel. The fact that the last 60 years have seen a worldwide regathering and reestablishment of the nation of Israel, which is now poised in the very setting required for the revealing of the Antichrist and the start of the Tribulation, is God’s grand indicator that all the other areas of world development are prophetically lined up. This is an extremely important point to understand. This is the reason we see so much antisemitism rising up. The devil knows the Bible better than any of us do. He also sees and understands some things about the plan of God. He knows it is very late prophetically speaking. My friend, you had better wake up to this reality too!
Israel, God’s “super sign” of the end times, is a clear indicator that time is growing shorter with each passing hour. With what we have already seen, we can be assured that God is now preparing the world for the final events leading up to Israel’s national regeneration. A great contrast will be seen at the end of time as we know it. There will be great devastation in Babylon [See Rev. 14:8; 18:2], yet regathering for Israel. I speak of the regathering of Israel in this case after the Great Tribulation. This will be after they have suffered under the Antichrist, been scattered yet again, protected in a place set aside for them by God for 3 ½ years, and then gathered back to the land in belief.
Before all of this, the event we refer to as the rapture of the Church will occur. This revelation was given specifically to the Apostle Paul and no other New Testament writer. Any other writer who referred or alluded to it referred back to the revelation given to Paul. He wrote, For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. [1 Thess. 4:16 – 18] The fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets will be the rapture of the Church.
There is a movement that has invaded the Christian Church in the last 20 – 30 years that has gained quite a bit of momentum in the last 10 years or so. Many of the people involved in this movement are sincere and desire to draw closer to the Lord, however they have been deceived. I speak of the so-called Hebraic or Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM). In this movement believers are taught that since the roots of the Christian Faith are Jewish (which is a misnomer), that in order to really please the Lord they need to become Torah observant, wear the ti-zits and other Jewish garb, wear a “prayer shawl” when they pray, and above all, observe the Lord’s Feast Days. The HRM, as I see it, are modern day Judaizers bringing their gullible adherents into the very bondage that the Apostle Paul addressed in his epistle to the Galatians. The Law, the sacrificial system, the Feasts, etc. were all a shadow of the reality that came with Jesus. [See Col. 2:17; Heb. 10:1]
It is not incumbent upon any Christian to observe any aspect of the Law, with the exception of the moral aspect of the Law that never changes. That being said, that does not mean that we cannot learn some things from the various types and shadows of the Old Testament. The Feast Days for example are a picture of the entire plan of God from the First Advent of Christ, all the way to the Second. The order of the seven feasts of Israel are important to understanding God’s plan for His chosen people.
The first four festivals all come closely together, within fifty days of each other: the feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First fruits, and Weeks. All four of these were fulfilled in the program of the first coming. The Feast of Passover was fulfilled by the death of Christ. The Feast of Unleavened Bread was fulfilled by the sinlessness of His blood offering upon His death. The Feast of First fruits was fulfilled by the resurrection of Christ. The Feast of Weeks was fulfilled by the birth of the Church.
Following the first cycle of feasts came a four month interval separating the first cycle of feasts from the second cycle of feasts. This four month interval is fulfilled by the Church Age. God’s program for the Church interrupts His program for Israel as revealed in the order of the feasts and the purposes of His plan for the ages.
Just as the first four festivals come close together so do the last three; they come within two weeks of each other. The last three will be fulfilled by the program of the Second Coming. The Feastof Trumpets will be fulfilled by the Rapture of the Church. The Day of Atonement will be fulfilled by the Great Tribulation and Israel’s national salvation at the end of that period. The Feast of Tabernacles will be fulfilled by the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. The Feast of Trumpets precedes the Day of Atonement by a number of days. Furthermore the Feast of Trumpets will be fulfilled by the Rapture while the Day of Atonement will be fulfilled by the Great Tribulation. Just as the Feast of Trumpets occurs before the Day of Atonement, even so the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation. As far as I am concerned, and I know people want to debate this, the matter is settled. So while the “sound of a great trumpet” reveals nothing about the timing of the Rapture, the very sequence by which the feasts of Israel will be fulfilled teaches that the Rapture will occur before the Great Tribulation just as the Feast of Trumpets precedes the Day of Atonement.
God has an end-time plan for the Church, and He has an end-time plan for Israel. Even though in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile [See Gal. 3:28], still in the great plan of God they are separate entities prophetically speaking. Israel will be gathered in belief at the end of the tribulation. They will begathered into all of the Promised Land. They will dwell from Egypt in the south to the Euphrates in the north. For the first time in all Jewish history the Jews will dwell in all of the Promised Land. Not only will all of their boundaries of the land be inhabited, but also every Jew will be regathered. The emphasis of our opening passage [See Isa. 27:12, 13] is oneby one. No Jew living at the time of the Second Coming is left outside the land. The regathering is worldwide with every nation helping the Jews to return to Israel, especially those nations that were once their enemies.
This is the glorious plan of God for Israel. This is part of their prophetic future. God keeps His promises. He watches over His Word to fulfill it. There is nothing any man, political party, or nation can do that will change it.